The Finnish Centre for New Economic Analysis (UTAK)
The Finnish Centre for New Economic Analysis (UTAK) is a non-partisan association and a public policy think tank based in Helsinki, Finland. The key aim of UTAK is to outline the intellectual foundations for the Keynesian welfare state in the 2020s. The societal goals of the association include democracy, equality, full employment, sustainable development and low inequalities in incomes and wealth.
UTAK was established to challenge the current economic orthodoxy based on austerity and continuous labour market flexibilisation. Austerity is not only ecologically and socially unsustainable but it is also detrimental to economic growth and competitiveness.
UTAK is part of the European Macro Policy Network consisting of research groups, think tanks and educational organisations. EMPN members work on updating the European fiscal and monetary architecture to achieve social justice, full employment and sustainable development goals. The vision of UTAK and EMPN is to develop an economic system which supports ecological reconstruction, strengthens Europe`s strategic autonomy and promotes the inclusion and liberty of all societal groups.
UTAK is a public good association. You can apply for UTAK membership through sending an application to the Executive Director. UTAK organises seminars and informal events for its members. At the moment UTAK does not charge a membership fee.
UTAK focuses on making analysis, public commentary and research in the fields of macroeconomic policy, industrial policy and the political economy of the welfare states. In practice, UTAK produces thorough policy briefs as well as topical opinion pieces, blog posts and a podcast. UTAK also organises public seminars and events for researchers and policy communities.
Capitalism is both a dynamic and an unstable economic system. We believe that achieving macroeconomic stability requires active demand management and strong stabilising institutions.
There has been a recent revival of industrial policy in strategic sectors and technologies, such as semiconductors and the green economy. We believe that active industrial policy is needed to shape the structural development of the economy.
Political economy of the welfare state
We believe that a broad welfare state serving the needs of all socio-economic groups is better at enabling low inequalities and economic democracy than a welfare regime merely focusing on the needs of the poorest.
UTAK is a common good association and a public policy think tank. Executive director DSocSc Lauri Holappa leads the daily operations of UTAK while MSocSc Antti Alaja works as an expert at the UTAK office. Juha Leppänen serves as the chairperson and Tuulia Pitkänen as the vice-chairperson of the UTAK board.
At the office, Lauri is in charge of administration and macroeconomic policy. Antti focuses on industrial and innovation policy and UTAK’s communications.
UTAK activities build on the intellectual foundations of Keynesian economics, critical political economy and other related social sciences such as economic history, social policy, innovation studies and labour studies. We believe that pluralist debates on economic and public policy issues are essential for achieving a democratic and equal society.
For too long the public economic policy debate has circled around the same old views and fears, like the fear of public debt, willingness to maintain constant austerity and the ostensible need to weaken social security systems. This policy has led to slowing growth, high levels of unemployment, rising inequality, climate crisis, environmental degradation and threats to democracy itself. The time is ripe for change, and a more democratic and equitable version of capitalism.
We believe that the right to work is an important aspect of an equal society.
Equal income and wealth distribution
We believe that low inequalities in incomes and wealth are essential for societal welfare and functioning democracy.
We believe that large-scale public investment and procurement is necessary to avoid climate catastrophe.
UTAK is part of the European Macro Policy Network (EMPN), which supports and connects teams of researchers, think tanks and educational organisations who work on updating and evolving the European fiscal and monetary architecture. German policy institute Dezernat Zukunft, which coordinates the EMPN, has granted funding for UTAK to start its think tank operations.